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Syria resumes border missile raids

A Syrian jet has bombed a rebel-held region near the border with Turkey for a second consecutive day, killing at least one person and wounding three others on Tuesday, an official has said.

An Associated Press video journalist saw the plane strike an area around the Syrian town of Ras al-Ayn, just across the border from the Turkish town of Ceylanpinar, and plumes of smoke could be seen rising into the sky.

The jet struck an area near the Turkish border "five times within a period of 10 minutes", according to an official from the Ceylanpinar mayor's office. Turkish ambulances sped to the border to carry Syrians wounded in the attack to Turkish hospitals. The official said four wounded Syrians were taken to Turkey for treatment today and one of them died.

An estimated 20 people died during Monday's air-raid in Ras al-Ayn and a further 10 died of wounds in Turkey, he said.

Syrian rebels wrested control of Ras al-Ayn from the forces of President Bashar Assad's regime last week. The town is in the predominantly Kurdish oil-producing north-eastern province of al-Hasaka.

Turkey's Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, speaking to a group of Turkish journalists in Rome on Monday, said Turkey had formally protested to Damascus about the bombings close to its border, saying the attacks were endangering security.

He said Turkey had also reported the incident to Nato allies and to the UN Security Council. The Syrian jet had not infringed Turkey's border, he said, adding that Turkey would have responded if it had.

The fighting in Ras al-Ayn touched off a massive flow of refugees three days ago, and more refugees fled into Ceylanpinar. The violence in Syria has killed more than 36,000 people since an uprising against President Assad's regime began in March 2011. Hundreds of thousands have fled into neighbouring Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq.

Meanwhile, the UN refugee agency has been forced to withdraw five of its 12 staff from the north-eastern al-Hasaka province in Syria, blaming rising insecurity. The move came as agency spokeswoman Melissa Fleming said that a Syrian Arab Red Crescent warehouse in Aleppo was apparently shelled and 13,000 blankets burned.

She said "recent deliveries have been very difficult", particularly in Damascus, where operations were disrupted for two days and a truck carrying 600 blankets was hijacked outside the city.


From Belfast Telegraph